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The University of Illinois Springfield cross country program announced its schedule for the fall 2024 season on Friday. UIS will compete at four regular season meets before the postseason begins with GLVC Championship host duties in late October. 

"I am very excited about this upcoming Cross Country season for many reasons." shared Head Coach Emmons King. "We are bringing in a lot of new athletes to add to the continued success of our growing program. Additionally, for the first time in program history, we are hosting the 2024 GLVC Cross Country Championships here on our beautiful campus. We will now have another chance for our supporters to come out to the course and cheer on our team while we compete for a conference championship." 

Regular Season
The Prairie Stars will open the 2024 campaign with the 9th Annual Prairie Star Invitational. At last year's event, the UIS men's and women's cross country teams both took first place. The Prairie Stars Invitational, first hosted on Sept. 11, 2015, has become a tradition for the program in the years since. 

UIS will then compete at Indiana State's John McNichols Invitational for the first time. The Sycamores host the meet annually at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., a 250-acre complex designed specifically for the purpose of cross country running. It has been the host site of various high school and college championship meets for over twenty years. It will be the first opportunity for the men's team to race the 8,000m distance during the season. The women's race will be 5,000 meters.

The Lewis Crossover, on the slate for Oct. 12, is the highlight of the regular season. The meet typically hosts regionally and nationally-ranked cross country teams from several of the eight NCAA DII regions. It will be the first opportunity for the women's team to compete in a 6,000 meter race during the season. UIS men's cross country finished 2nd of 19 teams when the Prairie Stars last competed at the meet in 2022. 

Hosting the GLVC Championships
The GLVC Cross Country Championships will come to the UIS Cross Country Course on Oct. 26. It will be the first time UIS has hosted the championship meet, though the Prairie Stars did host the GLVC Triangular and East Divisional meets as part of the adjusted schedule during the 2020 season. 

The UIS Campus Cross Country Course is located on the northeast portion of the university property. The grass trail loops through the Spencer House property before winding around soccer fields near University Drive.

UIS women's cross country finished fifth at the GLVC Championship in 2023, the top finish for the team since the Prairie Stars were the fourth-place team in 2020. 

The UIS men's cross country team has had a top-three finish at the meet in every season since 2018, including the 2022 season where the Prairie Stars became GLVC Champions for the first time. UIS looks to reclaim the title this fall after taking second place behind the Lewis Flyers in 2023. 

NCAA Postseason
The Prairie Stars will return to the Lewis Cross Country Course in Romeoville, Ill. on Nov. 9 as the Lewis Flyers are set to host the NCAA DII Midwest Regional Championships. The top three teams at the meet will automatically qualify for the NCAA DII Cross Country Championships, while additional teams could be selected at-large for the national meet. 

The 2024 NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships will take place at Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, Cal. on Nov. 23. 

UIS Women's Cross Country Schedule
UIS Men's Cross Country Schedule